Suzuki Motor of America was proud to present 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz with production model No. 34 of the all-new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000. The motorcycle was presented to Kevin at last weekend’s MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It was a brilliant debut for the new GSX-R as Team Yoshimura Suzuki took back-to-back wins in the Moto America Superbike doubleheader. The new bike also started from pole position in both races.
“It’s an honor to accept this Suzuki GSX-R1000 from Suzuki,” Schwantz said. “For them to give me VIN number 34 makes it even more special. I raced with Suzuki my entire career and it’s amazing to see how the GSX-R has evolved over the years into this year’s model, which is as close to a street-legal Grand Prix racing machine as you can get.”
Schwantz came out of Texas and quickly rocketed to prominence as one of America’s best road racers during the mid-1980s riding for Yoshimura Suzuki. By the late 1980s, Schwantz moved to international competition in the 500cc Grand Prix World Championships. He was a perennial top rider in that series and won the world championship in 1993. During his Grand Prix racing career, Schwantz racked up 25 500cc GP victories, all with Suzuki, putting him second all-time among American riders. Today Schwantz is a member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and MotoGP Legends.
The popular Texan was the first factory rider in America aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750, when the model was introduced in America in 1986. He won six of his nine AMA Superbike victories on Suzuki GSX-Rs (his first three win were on GS750ES models) including his famous 1988 Daytona 200 win. Schwantz was also the first rider to win an AMA Superbike pole and the first to stand atop an AMA Superbike podium on a GSX-R. His connection to the model is unparalleled and the reason why Suzuki chose to present him with the iconic number 34 bike.
The special motorcycle he was presented is serial No. 34, the 34th 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 to be made. It has been three decades, with more than a million editions sold, since the GSX-R line was born, and a decade and a half the GSX-R1000 was introduced.
Schwantz had the opportunity to ride his new GSX-R1000 at the Circuit of the Americas during the MotoGP weekend.
“First laps around the track in fairly cold conditions, it’s amazing how light and nimble this bike feels,” Schwantz explained. “To ride it around COTA made me smile. It really feels like you’re riding a 600 until you roll on the throttle and feel all that smooth torque and power on hand.”
The new GSX-R1000 is the latest incarnation of the iconic sportbike line. Its heritage reaches back to the GSX-R Schwantz raced during his illustrious career.
“We’re happy to present Kevin with 2017 GSX-R1000 No. 34,” said Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Vice President Motorcycle/ATV Sales and Marketing. “Kevin and Suzuki are so closely associated so we thought it was fitting to give Kevin this token of our appreciation for the years of services he’s given to Suzuki. The racing number 34 is forever aligned with Kevin and, in fact, is part of his ‘brand.’ We know Kevin will enjoy owning and riding this motorcycle.”
There are three models of GSX-R1000: the GSX-R1000R model, the GSX-R1000 ABS, and the standard GSX-R1000. The standard version, which Schwantz was presented, is a model exclusive to the U.S. market and is made specifically for American riders.